Hello Legislative Friends!

Almost 240 bills have been introduced to date.  We are heading for a number around two thousand and the rest of the bills will be released in the next few weeks.  So, the session is gearing up! 

Hearings for two of the bills that are on our agenda took place last week, and one is happening tomorrow on HB0019 - Expungement at 1:00 pm in the House Judiciary Committee.  HB0019 is an important bill that will allow people convicted of non-violent crimes get back into the workforce. 

The pace is picking up and we are expecting some really big bills next week.  In the meantime, there are a few new ones this week that need help.

For each of the bills, it is important to contact your District Legislative Team and let them know that you want them to support the bill.  At this point, only call your own Legislative Team (Senator and Delegates).  Contact information for your legislative team can be found on our website at mdlegislative.com/legislators.  If you don't know your legislative team, click this link and type in your address.

As always, if you see that a hearing is scheduled, and you can make it to Annapolis on that day, please try to attend.  Your voice, in person, is the loudest.  If you can't go, please call your legislators, or email them and the sponsor (include your testimony by using our testimony form on the website), or write a postcard to them (you can get their address by clicking their name on the Legislators page of the website.  Remember - it's okay to call and talk about multiple bills at a time. 

Script:
Hi, My name is _____________.  I am a constituent of (Delegate _______ or Senator ________).  I live at ______________________.  I would like the Delegate or Senator to support the following very important bills - HB0102, HB0109 and SB0096.  Also, bill numbers HB0066, HB0077 and HB0085 should get a positive vote.

HERE ARE THE BILLS:
***********************BILLS ON OUR LEGISLATIVE AGENDA*******************

HB0102 - Toll Roads, Highways and Bridges - County Government Consent Requirement - Expansion - Delegate Lierman
This bill expands the prohibition for constructing a toll road, highway or bridge without the consent of the majority of the counties affected. For anyone who is opposed to the proposed Lexus Lanes on 270 and 495, this is an important bill.

HB0109 - Environment - Expanded Polystyrene Food Service Products - Prohibition- Delegate Lierman
This bill bans the sale of polystyrene packaging for food products after January 1, 2020.  Polystyrene never decomposes, so it is an environmental hazard and it also contains a neurotoxin and probable carcinogen.  It is mostly used in schools and for packaging fast food.  The bill includes a fine of $250 for violations.

SB0096 - Baltimore City - Tax Sales of Real Property - Water Liens (Water Taxpayer Protection Act of 2019) - Senator Washington
This Act will repeal the authority of the Mayor and the City Council of Baltimore to sell homes and churches to enforce liens on unpaid water and sewage bills.  Currently, properties can be sold in a tax sale if they have more than $750 in unpaid bills.  
*****HEARING DATE - January 30th, 2:00 pm - Budget and Taxation Committee*****

****************************OTHER IMPORTANT BILLS*****************************

These bills are not on our Legislative Agenda, but could use a push if you have time to discuss them with your legislators.

HB0066 - Railroad Companies - Movement of Freight - Required Crew - Delegate Stein
This bill would prohibit the movement of freight in the same rail corridor as a high speed commuter or passenger train unless the freight train has at least two workers.  This is to ensure that if the person driving the train becomes incapacitated, there is someone who can take over.

HB0077 - Criminal Law - Decriminalization of Attempted Suicide - Delegate Moon
Repeals the designation of attempted suicide as a crime.  This means that people who attempt suicide get help, not jail time.
******HEARING DATE - January 29th, 1:00 pm - Judiciary Committee******

HB0085 - General Assembly - Special Election to Fill a Vacancy in Office - Delegate Moon
This bill provides for a special election in the case of a vacancy in the General Assembly, and allows for the Governor-appointed replacement to serve out the term until the special election.  Currently, there is no provision for a special election and the appointee serves out the term until the next general election.

Thank you for your support of this positive legislation!  If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at mdlegislativecoalition@gmail.com.

The Maryland Legislative Coalition Committee